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IN CONVERSATION WITH SOFIA ASPE



Sofía Aspe


Sofía Aspe is without a doubt one of the most thrilling forces from México’s contemporary design scene.  Her style, often called the “Aspe Style,” is bold, maximalist, full of personality, and always reflecting the inhabitants life-style while at the same time extremely comfortable.  Since 2012, Sofía has run her successful interior design studio with projects not only in México, but as well in the United States and Israel.

A virtuosic eye for colour, adventurous sense of style, and a generous application of art are all synonymous with the Aspe approach. Sofía’s designs seamlessly marry contemporary influences with important historical reference points, blending high and low, old and new with soulful sophistication and iconic grace.  With unexpected influences, it seems, beget her spirited and distinctive aesthetic, a dynamic that makes Sofía Aspe one of the most sought after tastemakers in Latino-America.



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – What was your first experience with design?

Sofía Aspe – I had my first experience with design at a very early age.  Since I was a child I was exposed to all sorts of beauty.  I have had the fortune to be member of a family that has a great appreciation for the decorative arts, and basically anything to do with beauty.  From precious furnishings, art, cutlery sets, tableware, to antiques and family heirlooms made of sterling silver.  Since I was a girl I have been collecting miniature furniture and I remember spending hours playing and recreating different scenes.

On the other hand, my first professional experience came 6 years ago when I was invited to design a professional office in the top floor of an antique house in the Polanco area of México City.  A good friend of mine hired me with the condition that I will charge her, and this was the beginning of my professional career.  Before this I had only decorated for my family, friends and my own homes.  After the success of that project, I was invited to design a flat in Campos Elíseos, then another one in Rubén Darío, all these projects in México City.  Then, I was invited to work outside the city in Pachuca, Hidalgo. I was invited to design my first complete house in Las Lomas, México City, the old Canadian Embassy.  It was a professional snow ball that kept growing thanks to the incredible opportunities I have had to showcase my work and of course the work and support of my all female team.



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – What is your definition of beauty?

Sofía Aspe – Beauty is what enriches the soul and make the senses feel alive.  Although beauty is a subjective and abstract form, there is always a firm relationship between proportion and harmony,  this relationship is what creates beautiful spaces.



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade –How you would describe the Aspe style?

Sofía Aspe – My style is colourful, eclectic, maximalist, but always warm and inviting.  I fight against spaces that have a lack of personality, where the quality is gone and they are cheaply done, spaces with the same finishes and a neutral palette, and with the archaic idea that art only belongs in museums or that it is a luxury and not a necessity.

I like to bring character and a unique personality to each project I work on.  I want the inhabitants to want to spend time in their spaces, it doesn’t matter if it is a house or an office.  I don’t forget even the laundry room.  All the spaces need dedication to reflect their own beauty.



Sofía Aspe – Interiorismo


Iván Meade – The Sofía Aspe design style has been wildly celebrated, especially with your new book in which you talk about your style and your design process – What is the story behind your book and why was it important for you to showcase your work in this way?

Sofía Aspe – My new interior design book intends to explain our story as well as our design sensibility, showcasing 19 iconic projects to celebrate the 5th anniversary of our design studio.  All the projects are very different, and each presents a unique style created under the same umbrella, our studio.

My goal is that all of our interiors have a story to tell, one that can truly represent who my clients are and to showcase their unique lifestyle. The book will allow you to see that some projects are traditional, other are very contemporary, and some retro with a vintage vibe; all of our projects have the same thread throughout which is the “pure Aspe style.” The main goal of the book is to inspire its readers to take risks using colours, textures and a mix of decorative styles that can actually harmoniously make a space unique.

I am so grateful to say that the book has been extremely well received.  I believe this is because the readers feel that their homes have the same possibilities that the projects in the book do. Furthermore, this book also represents the quality of our work as quality is very important for us. The book is available in 2 versions, one in Spanish and the other one in English; it is a very thoughtful and carefully put together edition which is printed in Madrid, Spain.  The photography is by Alfonso de Béjar, who is a very talented Mexican/Uruguayan photographer, and moreover, the edition and design was done by a very talented team.



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – Clients nowadays are becoming more sophisticated and design-conscious. How has that influenced you?

Sofía Aspe – Without a doubt our current clientele is more sophisticated and sybarite.  They know designer names, artists, design fairs, styles and brands.  This new knowledge encourages us to raise the bar and be more informed with all design and art topics and what is happening in our industry.  Also, I believe that this new cultural situation encourages a dialogue between the client and the designer that results in a better and more informed end result for every project.



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – The selection of your furniture pieces is always fun and exquisite at the same time – What inspired you to include pieces in your projects that are no longer commonly used in today’s homes?

Sofía Aspe – The selection of furnishings has to have two extremely important points: beauty and comfort.  Both qualities are indispensable to generating timeless spaces according their use, style and durability.  I usually try to get out of my zone of comfort with recognized pieces and implement new brands or innovative designs, in some cases we even custom design pieces specifically to fit into a space.  I also like to use antiques or family heirlooms from our clients to start creating a visual narrative to reflect my clients lifestyle.



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – Another aspect that I find very interesting in your projects is the fact that the art is extremely well selected.  Do you work around the clients’s collection or do you suggest specific art to your clients?

Sofia Aspe – The art in my projects is a topic with high relevance.  I cannot see as great interior without the presence of art.  Art enhances our projects in a visual way, but art also heightens our existence.  I love to guide our clients to start creating their art collection or enrich their existing one while complementing their interiors.  I personally like the current art movements.  Sometimes when we have clients with a collection, we work around them and look for ways to showcase these collection and give them the best light.



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – You have had the opportunity to work in the USA with many projects as well as in another parts of the world; how do you adapt your design aesthetic to a country’s culture?

Sofía Aspe – My style doesn’t have a nationality in particular, which is to say that it is not reflecting a typical Mexican design style, or for that matter any other country.  This is the reason I can easily transition or design spaces outside of México.  I usually try to incorporate a local element without creating a stage design, just a detail element to incorporate the space into its surroundings.  When I get requests to include a Mexican touch I try to incorporate this with first class artisanal Mexican crafts  or Mexican architectural contemporary details that in a subtle way give a wink to the space and give it a sense of belonging.  This is actually something that will be reflected in a current project that we are currently working in Los Cabos, México.



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – As a Mexican I have to ask this question.  What are your thoughts about the Mexican design aesthetic of today – what do you like and what do you dislike about the current Mexican Design Style?

Sofía Aspe – México has always had a sophisticated style of its own, but lately if you talk about interiors it is a completely new experience. The current Mexican clientele is more sybarite and appreciate the importance of truly living well and of being surrounded by beauty, and they are also more open to collecting art and to quality in general.  Also, Mexicans as you know are the best kind of hosts who loves to spoil their family and friends, so because of this, the public and social spaces of their homes need to be able to host many people.  If there is something that I would like to change about those Mexicans with contemporary taste, it would be for them to take more risks, to embrace new colours, and to set aside neutrals, beiges and grays; to innovate and use different materials or wood species to create something new.  I believe this is slowly happening but there is a long ways still to go.



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – Many of our readers are designer students – What would be the best advice you can give to somebody who is starting a career in design?

Sofía Aspe – I would recommend that when they finish their degree or Masters to work in a couple of interior design studios before they start out on their own.  This way they will be able to learn how to operate the business, how to present a project to a client, how to work with the different trades, etc.  Also it is important when they first start to take small projects, no matter how small they are.  I have never felt bad about this because those small projects opened other doors for me.  You need to start with a good computer, lots of enthusiasm and hard work, and little by little opportunities will grow.  This business is all about the referrals we received, so always do your best! You never know where a new client might coming from.



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – What is for you the value of design?

Sofía Aspe – Good timeless design must connect with every human need while bringing beauty and comfort.   Design is everywhere, it is in our clothing, our furnishings, in the architecture that surround us, even in our gardens.  When design connects with our most inner needs and it is tailored to every one of our special needs, it totally transforms our lives, making them easier and happier!



Iván Meade – You run a design studio with 11 amazing and talented professionals.  The uniqueness here is that they are all women.  Why is it important for you to have a studio only run by women?

Sofía Aspe – In México there is an enormous inequality in the work place, especially between men and woman.  My studio is just a tiny grain of sand to propagate and empower women.  I am convinced that women have an extra insight when designing homes as they run the majority of the houses out there.  The studio is conformed by an accountant, three architects, three interior designers, two industrial designers,a housekeeper and myself, all responsible woman who are creative and economically autonomous.  We work really hard as we share always the same goal which at the end is to create a wonderful atmosphere at the studio while producing the best work we can.



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – Describe what you like most about your own home?

Sofía Aspe – My home truly reflects my must pure and original decorative style as I didn’t have a client guiding me.  My home is everything that I love: contemporary art, plants, animals (I have adopted 6 dogs). All the objects, finishes, textures and colours reflect who I am.



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – What does your dream house look like and where would it be?

Sofía Aspe – A dream house is that house which exceeds the inhabitants’ wishes and desires.  In my case, the perfect house is full of love and laughter.  For me, my perfect house is my home in Valle De Bravo, a beautiful space where my family, friends and a spectacular view of the lake all gather.



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – What do you think that every house should have?

Sofía Aspe – Love!



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – What is next for Sofía Aspe?

Sofía Aspe – I hope for many things! I have many dreams I wish to achieve. I dream of designing projects in Europe, a Chalet surrounded by snow, my first project in New York… I dream to have one day my own line of furnishings, collaborate with different brands and to create my own fabric line, area rugs and tableware.  I am not interested in becoming an enormous studio; I like a small to medium size studio so that I don’t loose contact with what I am working on, perhaps just to be more selective with the projects we take.  Obviously I dream of my second book! – Anyway, thank God there are many dreams to achieve!



Interiors by Sofía Aspe


Iván Meade – Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles. What would you like your legacy to be?

Sofía Aspe – I would love to leave my own imprint in the interior design world with my personal style and to be remembered as a hard working woman that influenced the industry with an innovative use of colour, with a different approach to design, and with spaces that are super comfortable but always full of personality.  Eventually, I would like to think that I changed and improved the lifestyle of every one of my clients, showing them the potential for how to live the best version of their lives!


I invite you to visit Sofía Aspe’s incredible body of work:


@sofiaaspeinteriorismo